My significant other considers Mother’s Day (along with Valentine’s Day and Father’s Day) to be a holiday created purely for commercial reasons. As a result, she will not celebrate any of those ‘holidays’. I brought a different view of Mother’s Day when we got together. She and I are both Pagans and when I explained this alternate approach to Mother’s Day she wholeheartedly embraced it. I have to thank my friend Amy in Oklahoma for teaching me this Mother’s Day tradition that she and her son have followed for many years. I think her clever reinterpretation of this holiday is perfect for most Pagans.
Circle of One
Not only do Solitary Pagans have to deal with a different assortment of challenges than other Pagans, we also have to take different approaches to Community and Unity. Understanding who we are as Solitaries is critical if we are to be equal partners in the Greater Pagan Community.
** Update: After reading comments on FB I wanted to clarify this. It may be is a case of the written word not always coming through as intended (in this case - sarcasim). My purpose here is not to introduce a serious topic for consideration. It is to show that we can sometimes get caught up in a "tempest in a teapot" and that it can be pretty funny if we step back and look at it. I hope you get a chuckle during a stressful time. Namaste.
I admit that I’m a fairly thick-skinned Pagan and don’t take offense when someone uses the word “Witch” in place of a naughty word they can’t say on television. I don’t get upset when someone wishes me “Merry Christmas” (and I almost always spare them my lecture about how saying that is actually casting a spell). The other day I used the phrase “come to Jesus meeting” and later I was thinking about it. Should I have been averse to using this phrase? Am I an insensitive Pagan?
Pagan activities with a group of people can draw strange looks and even the occasional nutter who wants to “save” everyone. I have discovered that, sometimes, practicing your spirituality alone can lead others to think you are actually insane. I suppose I should add this to the list of differences between Traditional Pagans and Solitaries. It isn’t that we are crazier than Traditional Pagans (at least I don’t think so), it’s just that Solitaries seem to be more suspect than groups.
Perhaps when someone sees a group of people doing something out of the ordinary it is viewed as strange but nothing more than “a bunch of wackos”? Perhaps when the same behavior is practiced by an individual it crosses the line into “crazy”? Let me give an example.
Seven or eight years ago, I shocked a large group of my Pagan friends. I was at a small festival in Oklahoma that happened to take place during St. Patrick’s Day weekend. I was vending and teaching at this festival (as well as performing my first song) and knew most of the attendees very well. As we were cleaning the dining hall after dinner, I invited everyone down to my vendor table to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a drink of Irish whiskey. The look of horror on some of their faces was priceless.
Being Solitary is a defining part of who I am as a Pagan. I meet so many other Solitaries in my journeys and often find them feeling disconnected from the greater Pagan Community. That is why I write this blog and speak on this topic whenever I can. The specific topic I write about today applies to every segment of the Community because, when it comes right down to it, each of us are Solitary within our own minds, and that’s important to remember. Even Traditional Pagans often feel disenfranchised or isolated, (and most practice away from their Covens as well as with them) so this article is really for everyone in the Community.
A few of you might be aware that I was involved in a very serious (and very stupid) accident in mid-December. I quickly sent out a call to my friends asking for healing energy directly from my hospital bed. I was in extraordinary pain when I sent that request and was badly broken. One aspect of my life as a Solitary has been to shield myself from the energy of others in most instances. Bad experiences from my past have made me very cautious about the energies I take in and (generally speaking) I never open myself to energy from people I’ve never met.
I had really planned to write this week about a completely different topic. I have done my best to avoid the Teo Bishop rants on the web, and honestly I glaze over any time I try to read one. Ultimately, I find that I can’t leave the situation without comment, despite my deepest desires to do so.
Like so many other American Pagans, I came to Paganism after being raised in the Christian church. Like so many other American Pagans, after I found Paganism I went through a bout of Christian bashing. It’s silly and immature, but seems to be a common response for those who convert. Trust me, after 2 years in Baptist school, I had plenty of anger and resentment towards Christianity. It took about a decade for that to really calm down in my soul. When the “smoke cleared”, I discovered that I never had any problems with Jesus at all – it’s those who claim to be his followers that were at the heart of the issue for me. I personally think that the Sermon on the Mount is a beautiful guide to life and wish that more people would follow it. I also think it is critical to separate “Jesus” from “the church” – Christians are not Christ or I wouldn’t have written this.
I have spent decades talking to Pagans about the perceived “culture of poverty” within the Pagan Community. That is the belief that “I can’t afford that and I never will be able to” or “I can’t go to that festival for $70, even though they will feed and house me for 3 days.” I have spent the last year telling anyone and everyone who will listen that the Pagan Community needs a professional media corps. If you’d like to see some of my arguments for why, check our website – www.PaganTV.org.
I realized something a few weeks ago. Pick the euphemism you prefer – “put your money where your mouth is”, “put up or shut up”, or “if you talk the talk you need to walk the walk.” It is true that I spend a fair amount of money every year attending various Pagan events and festivals. Like many of us, I also buy plenty of Pagan goodies from incense to altar tools to books, books, and more books. All of those activities are good for our Community economy but really aren’t enough to help us get to where we need to go.